April 16th came around again. The DH has completed his training and is executing the birthday celebrations with military precision, employing ‘element of surprise’ to his arsenal of tactical maneuvers…I awoke to no cheers of ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’. A mild ‘Good morning’ was all I got. So I ambled to the bathroom disappointed, assuming that the DH had forgotten it was the 16th. Six years of training…and nothing. [For those new to this blog, the ‘training’ is about a family tradition we Ganeshs have. The night before someone’s birthday, we line up all the cards, presents, cake and flowers on the bedside table so that when they awake the first thing they see is a birthday bonanza. So I’ve been ‘training’ the DH to do this every birthday.] But he was up to his old tricks! I came out of the bathroom and was greeted with chocolate fudge cake and presents. Broozi offered very enthusiastic licks…but I think he was just trying to get to the fudge cake. A great start to the day.
There’s always some cloak and dagger stuff to getting the cake in to the house and storing it in the refrigerator the night before so that I don’t get to see it. A few years ago the DH said his car broke down and he needed me to pick him up. This got me out of the house while he sneaked the cake in and rearranged the fridge contents so I wouldn’t see the cake box. Then I was told that he’d actually been given a lift from someone else but he couldn’t reach me on my cell. This year he told me he was on his way home from work but had to upload some documents which would take a while, so it would be best if I took Abroozi for a walk. That seemed plausible and it got me out of the house, while he sneaked the cake in.
Here’s some of the presents. My family and friends always have such wonderful presents for me and I am incredibly grateful for all the birthday wishes, phone calls, emails and presents. Beautiful Paua bracelet and necklace from my parents’ recent trip to New Zealand. Paua is made from abalone.
A lovely little wicker bag from dear ASH.
The wrap around from my parents, the flipflops and wayfarer sunglasses from my sister – i think they’re telling me to go to Goa!
I bought a lot of stuff from the US on my recent trip couple of weeks ago, so I wasn’t really expecting anything from the DH. After all those ebay purchases I figured I had exhausted my shopping quota for the year. But I was surprised again with this T-shirt.
For those of you who don’t know Leila Khaled (the woman in the picture), she was an airline hijacker, not once but twice and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In 1969 she hijacked TWA flight 840, ordering the pilot to fly over Haifa, the city of her birth, which she and her family along with 700,000 other Palestinian Arabs had to flee as they were expelled from their homes in the 1948 exodus of Palestinians (Al Nakba ‘day of catastrophe’) due to the advance of Jewish military and militia. Later, a series of laws passed by the Israeli government prevented Palestinian Arabs from returning to their homes and properties, making those who fled and their descendants, refugees. Whether Israel will grant them their ‘right to return’ is one of the key issues in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Leila Khaled was never arrested for the 1969 hijacking. She ordered the plane to land in Damascus, all the passengers were disembarked and the aircraft was blown up. Miraculously, she was released. Photographer Eddie Adams took this now famous picture of Khaled (on the T-shirt) holding an AK-47 and wearing a Kaffiyeh, till then only worn by men). After this she underwent six surgeries on her face to conceal her identity. She says she didn’t want to wear the face of an icon…
A year later in 1970, Leila Khaled and Patrick Arguello, a Nicaraguan-American, hijacked El Al Flight 271 from Amsterdam to New York City in the almost simultaneous hijackings of six aircraft by the PLPF. Israeli forces killed Arguello and eventually overpowered Khaled. The plane was diverted to London and on October 1st, 1970 she was released in a prisoner exchange. A candid documentary by a Swedish journalist of Palestinian origin who speaks with Leila Khaled about her actions, beliefs and life today:
I recommend you watch it. I don’t believe that violence solves anything but I do think we need to understand why people are forced to take up arms. The word ‘terrorist’ has been bathed in western propaganda and thrives on fear mongering. It’s so easy to call your enemies terrorists and fail to look at your own actions of: state sponsored wars, state sponsored torture, detention camps, and drone attacks…The UN General Assembly Charter Paragraph 2 states: 2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for
independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from
colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means,
including armed struggle;
and Para 21:21. Strongly condemns the expansionist activities of Israel in the
Middle East and the continual bombing of Palestinian civilians, which
constitute a serious obstacle to the realization of the self-determination and
independence of the Palestinian people;
Whatever the politics… I sure won’t be wearing this T-shirt to any American airports…some things are too crazy to contemplate.